London, June 26 (IANS) Music festival wristbands possess alarming levels of bacteria which can pose a deadly risk, says a scientist.
The problems arise because thousands of music lovers continue to wear the bands for months as a fashion item – with many flaunting up to five at a time.
Microbiology professor Alison Cottell found they had around 20 times more bacteria than clothes, reports mirror.co.uk.
Laboratory tests on two bands that had been on a fan’s wrists since Reading Festival in 2013 showed they were home to around 9,000 micrococci and 2,000 staphylococci.
“The vast majority of bacteria were staphylococci and micrococci. Although these bacteria are normally found on skin there was a surprisingly high number growing from the wristbands,” said Cottell.
“Staphylococci are usually harmless but can cause boils and also infect cuts and grazes. They can also cause acute food poisoning if they are ingested. Infections are most likely to affect the ability of cuts and grazes to heal. More serious, but rare, complications include septicaemia.
“The hospital superbug, MRSA, is a type of staphylococcus very resistant to a number of common antibiotics,” added the professor.
She urged people not to wear wristbands if they work in healthcare or food preparation, where there is a risk bacteria could spread.